Trackers bale out of Footsie casualties

Market Report

THE SEEMINGLY remorseless slide goes on. Footsie crashed 101.7 points to 4,648.7, its lowest since June last year.

Banks, despite a modest Barclays rally, remained under pressure and some of the recently high-flying telecoms shares were again earthbound.

Such is the state of the market that there is already a tendency for some tracker funds to try and position themselves for the next Footsie review, not due until December.

WPP, the advertising group, is a classic example of anticipating the Footsie judgement. The shares have, like so many others, been completely demoralised but their discomfort has intensified in recent days as Footsie considerations have mingled with the obvious vulnerability of the advertising industry in a possible recession.

The shares had the dubious distinction of leading the latest retreat, falling 36.5p to 202p against a 1998 high of 476p. On present form WPP is a Footsie casualty; its valuation has fallen below pounds 1.8bn.

The trackers are already taking evasive action by selling the shares. They are adopting a similar approach to other Footsie shares in the danger zone such as fund manager Amvescap, down 27p at 263p, and Sema, off 34p to 376p.

As WPP and the others weaken the pressure becomes more intense as the action of the tracker funds make relegation an (almost) self-fulfilling development.

The mid cap index is another area of anxiety. On Friday Business Post, down 22.5p to 252.5p, and engineer Laird, up 13p to 158p, were thrown out to accommodate the two Hillsdown spin offs. Hillsdown, at 100p, and offspring Terranova, 140p, and Fairview Homes, 102.5p, collectively produced a modest but commendable gain.

Footsie's latest fall was achieved against another somewhat unexpected slump in New York and yet further Tokyo weakness. Soothing words after the G7 meeting had no impact and even a UK interest-rate cut on Thursday may be ignored unless it is significant - say, 0.75 percentage points.

Barclays ended its headlong plunge, although a 29p rally to 867p was far from convincing as it denied that it intended to sell Barclays Capital, its investment banking albatross.

British Energy, up 11p to 576p, enjoyed investment house Merrill Lynch support following what was seen as an upbeat output statement. National Power improved 10.5p to 567p after selling some exploration assets to little Dana Petroleum; NP has lifted its Dana stake to 8.56 per cent and picked up pounds 9.4m.

Talk of corporate action creating mega-utilities was also in the air, helping NP as well as PowerGen, up 12.5p to 886.5p. A weaker pound comforted exporters, with British Aerospace up 20p to 332p, and General Electric Co 17.5p to 417.5p.

Marks & Spencer fell 21p to 437p as BT Alex.Brown, worried about a possible sharp deterioration in trading in the past month, slashed its profits forecast by 3 per cent to pounds 1.025bn. For next year the cut is 10 per cent to pounds 1.13bn.

Railtrack, which has for long blissfully ignored the screeching market brakes, was for once shunted into reverse, falling 59p to 1,575p. The company, at a 1,713p peak last week, met analysts last night. It has fixed up a deal with British Land, down 20p at 523p, to develop more land at Railtrack's Broadgate site in the City. Merrill downgraded its BL stance, citing a deterioration in the outlook for City office demand while financial markets are volatile.

Zeneca, down 107p to 1,873p, was hit by Merrill selling. Computers remained in the doghouse; besides Sema, Admiral plunged 210p to 872.5p and CMG 169p to 1,241p.

The cut-price Inchcape sale of its Russian Coca-Cola operation killed off what sparkle was left at Coca-Cola Beverages, sending the shares down 11p to 106.5p; Inchcape dropped 6p to 105.5p.

Danka Business Systems, with another dismal trading statement, crashed 36.5p to 44p; last year the price was 712p. Engineer Headway reported a profits gain, but with bid talks ended the shares fell 10.5p to 39p.

Calluna, the computer security group, fell 1.5p to 14p despite Williams de Broe support and Weir, the engineer, gained a further 6.5p to 187.5p, seemingly on a pounds 14m pump development.

Waverley Mining held at 9.5p. Corporate Resolve, an Ofex traded company, is bidding for 26 per cent but other possible bidders are said to be on the sidelines.

Former chief executive Willie McLucas is one; an Australian miner is also thought to have expressed interest. There are also suggestions that Anglesey Mining, unchanged at 6.75p, might attempt a share exchange offer.

Nord Anglia, an educational group, slumped 30p to 213p as ABN Amro cut its estimate. It is thought to have been reduced from pounds 5.7m to pounds 3.8m.

SEAQ VOLUME: 835.8 million

SEAQ TRADES: 73,444

GILTS INDEX: 115.46 -0.52

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
tvStrictly presenter returns to screens after Halloween accident
News
peopleFormer civil rights activist who was jailed for smoking crack cocaine has died aged 78
News
i100
News
Boxing promoter Kellie Maloney, formerly known as Frank Maloney, entered the 2014 Celebrity Big Brother house
people
Sport
Dwight Gayle (left) celebrates making it 1-1 with Crystal Palace captain Mile Jedinak
premier leagueReds falter to humbling defeat
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Reach Volunteering: Trustee – PR& Marketing, Social Care, Commercial skills

Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: Age Concern Slough a...

Reach Volunteering: Charity Treasurer

Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: Crossroads Care is s...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Soho

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35,000: SThree: We consistently strive to be ...

Ampersand Consulting LLP: Markit EDM (CADIS) Developer

£50000 - £90000 per annum + benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Markit EDM (CA...

Day In a Page

Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible
Look what's mushrooming now! Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector

Look what's mushrooming now!

Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
Neil Findlay is more a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

More a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

The vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Tenderstem broccoli omelette; Fried eggs with Mexican-style tomato and chilli sauce; Pan-fried cavolo nero with soft-boiled egg

Oeuf quake

Bill Granger's cracking egg recipes
Terry Venables: Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back

Terry Venables column

Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back
Michael Calvin: Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Those at the top are allowing the same issues to go unchallenged, says Michael Calvin